CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, November 10, 2011) – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber today announced the 2011 MLS Best XI, which included four members of the LA Galaxy. This is the second consecutive season in which the Galaxy have had four players included in the Best XI and just the sixth time in club history that a team has had four players represented on the Best XI.
Todd Dunivant and Omar Gonzalez were each named as defenders on the Best XI, which recognizes the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field. David Beckham and Landon Donovan were selected as midfielders. No other team had more than one player on the Best XI.
PHOTOS: David Beckham
David Beckham was named to the Best XI for the first time in his MLS career after finishing second in the league with 15 assists. Fully recovered from the torn Achilles tendon that he suffered in March 2010, Beckham set a new MLS-career-high by appearing in 26 of the Galaxy’s 34 regular season games, scoring twice in addition to his 15 assists. An MLS All-Star for the second time in his career, Beckham led MLS with seven game-winning assists while helping the Galaxy win their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield. Beckham, who appeared in 30 games in all competitions heading into the postseason, tallying 17 assists, has added three more assists so far in the playoffs, giving him 20 on the season.
PHOTOS: Landon Donovan
One of the biggest beneficiaries of Beckham’s assists this season is Landon Donovan, who was named to the Best XI for the fourth straight season and the fifth time in his career. Only Dwayne De Rosario, who was also named to the Best XI this season, has been selected for the honor more times than Donovan. The Galaxy’s MVP and Golden Boot winner this season with 12 regular season goals, Donovan also had three assists while serving as the club’s captain in 2011. Including the Champions League, Open Cup and MLS Cup Playoffs, Donovan has scored 15 goals for the Galaxy this year while helping lead the Galaxy to their MLS-record seventh appearance in MLS Cup. His four game-winning goals were one fewer than the MLS league leaders while his goal against Colorado on September 9 was the 115th of his MLS career, making his the third leading goal scorer in MLS history in addition to the all-time leading scorer in the postseason.
PHOTOS: Todd Dunivant
While Beckham and Donovan helped to spearhead the Galaxy attack, Todd Dunivant was one of the central figures in the success of the Galaxy defense in 2011. Appearing in 32 of the club’s 34 regular season games and a team-high 42 games so far in all competitions, Dunivant helped the Galaxy tie the MLS record for shutouts in a season with 17 while also allowing a league low 28 goals in 34 games. Now in his ninth season in MLS, Dunivant was integral to the team’s attack, finishing third on the team with four assists in the regular season, with the club going 3-0-1 when he had an assist.
PHOTOS: Omar Gonzalez
The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, Omar Gonzalez rounded out the Galaxy quartet on the Best XI. One of the most physically imposing central defenders in MLS, Gonzalez enjoyed his finest season in a Galaxy uniform, helping the Galaxy win their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield while allowing the fewest goals in Major League Soccer. With Gonzalez appearing in and starting 29 of the club’s 34 games, the Galaxy equaled a league-record by recording 17 clean sheets and setting a club record by allowing just 0.82 goals per game, which was the third-lowest goals-allowed per game average in MLS history. The club’s Defender of the Year as well, Gonzalez scored two goals and had an assist in the regular season while also adding a goal in the Champions League as well as one in the Open Cup.
The Galaxy will look to win their third MLS Cup in club history and first since 2005 on Sunday, November 20 when they take on the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup 2011. That game, which is schedule to start at 6 p.m., will be played at The Home Depot Center and can be seen live on ESPN and Galavision in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. For more information about MLS Cup 2011, please visit www.lagalaxy.com/playoffs.
2011 MLS Best XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS (3): Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
MIDFIELDERS (5): David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (2): Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)